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Education

Wichita State University Hoping To Build $7.2M Parking Garage

wsu_parking_map.png
wsu.edu, Nadya Faulx
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Wichita State University is looking to add a multi-level parking garage to its main campus as it anticipates a growing student population.

Wichita State is seeking approval from the Kansas Board of Regents to build a $7.2 million parking garage.

"Planning for the garage reflects the university's confidence in increasing enrollment and our response to complaints that there is inadequate parking near the central part of campus," WSU President John Bardo said in a news release.

Lou Heldman, WSU vice president of strategic communications, says the multi-level structure would be built south of the Rhatigan Student Center.

"There is a parking lot there now that holds just over 200 vehicles," he says. "We’re going to build a parking garage [that] if approved, we expect to hold 400 or more vehicles."

Heldman says he hopes the Regents will take up the proposal at the board’s February meeting. If the Board of Regents approves the proposal, the plan would then go to the Kansas Legislature for approval because it is a capital expenditure. Once final approvals are obtained, it would take about 18 months to construct and open the garage.

WSU went to a permit-only parking system last August. Students pay $150 a year to park on campus. The university also provides a free shuttle system that brings students from off-campus parking areas to campus. Heldman says buses running through campus from 7 a.m – 10 p.m. every day creates an additional toll on campus roads and parking lots, requiring more frequent repairs.

Heldman says the new garage would be financed through parking fees and bond proceeds. He says parking fees allow them to build up reserves for other related to traffic and parking on campus, and that shows bond buyers that the university has a steady cash flow.

If approved, this would be the first parking garage at the university, but likely not the last. Garages are also expected to be built on the university’s new Innovation Campus.

The university lost a surface parking lot when it built a new dormitory, Shocker Hall, near Cessna Stadium on the northwest side of campus. Heldman says the new garage will make up for some of the lost parking.

“It’s not a 1-to-1 trade off," he says. "But what is a trade-off is that we added more spaces at the Hughes Metropolitan Complex, so there’s lots of parking.”

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

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